Dad - For Many Men, it's the Best Title of All
June, 2006 - Issue #20
New dad Greg Corralejo with his daughter, Camryn.
New dad Greg Corralejo with his daughter, Camryn.
The noun "father" is used as a sign of respect, but the name Dad is being used as a verb like catch, hug and listen in a national advertising campaign. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, the idea is that a dad is not just something you are, it is something you do - like laughing, reading and playing.

Spend any Saturday at a park or playing field in the Santa Clarita Valley and you will see plenty of dads out there - coaching, cheering and handing out snacks. While the dads of the 1950s were portrayed as briefcase-carrying, tie-wearing, white-collar workers who came home in time to read the paper and have a nice dinner, today's dads are a lot more hands on. Beginning in the delivery room as they witness (and... ahem, help with) the miracle of birth, dads are brought in for feeding schedules, diaper duty and playtime. Later, you'll see dads volunteering in the classrooms, joining the PTA and taking on coaching jobs. It's not unusual in this day and age to meet a dad who chooses to stay home with the children while mom goes off to work.

It is a well-known fact that children with loving and involved fathers do better in school, have healthy self-esteem, are social, empathetic and tend to avoid the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Dads involved in their children's activities have an easier time keeping the line of communication open, said Santa Clarita Councilman Frank Ferry.

Ferry, an assistant principal at Saugus High School, can usually be found with his two sons by his side at many city events. Ferry also volunteers to coach his sons' soccer and track teams. The boys come first, Ferry said.

"I look at having a short specific period of time that I can influence my sons," he said. "I know every decision I make is in the best interest of Jake and Nick. If I want to pursue a higher office and it takes away from those two, it's not worth it."

Ferry would like to see more dads involved at school and would like parents to show more affection towards their children. Girls whose fathers are affectionate tend to not go "looking for love in all the wrong places" and boys tend to not be as aggressive and/or violent.

The greatest gift a father can give his child is to love and respect the mother. A parent's relationship is the primary model for the child's future relationship skills and parents who show respect for each other provide a secure environment for their children.

New dad Greg Corralejo, 27, is head over heels in love with his baby daughter Camryn, but the transition from husband to father can sometimes be a bumpy road.

"It's different," Corralejo said about fatherhood. "It was more of a life-changing event than I expected. There is a lot of responsibility and everything is planned around Camryn."

He and his wife Nicolette are working out several child rearing compromises. "Obviously I'm not the only one raising her," Corralejo said. "It's been a bigger change for Nicki and because she is breastfeeding, we don't leave the baby at all."

It's important to let the kids know they have unconditional love from their parents, Ferry said. It's also important to know that a father's job is never done. Even after the kids leave home, they will still call their dads asking for advice with school, jobs and relationships.

"I'm hoping that dads are especially letting the kids know through affection and words that they love their kids. It connects them," he said. Ferry said he had a great role model in his own father and continues to turn to him for support and advice.

"I still get goose bumps at 40 years old when my dad says he loves me and hugs me," Ferry said.

Fathers are many things to their children - role models, teachers, disciplinarians. It's a big job and an important one. Spending time and really listening to your children lets them know what's important. Parents who keep that line of communication open will have an easier time dealing with the more difficult teenage problems. All this time and attention may mean sacrificing other things, but the time is well worth the investment.

"Never let economics or money take away from the time you should be spending with your children," Ferry said. "I know if I die tomorrow, my sons will have life-long memories. I want my sons to know I was there for them."
- What is the sum of 5 + 4?
This is a required value
to protect against spam
community events